Beomeosa Temple is one of the most spiritual places in South Korea and one of the most popular attractions for tourists in Busan. Busan is one of the largest cities in the country, second only to Seoul. It is a city of nearly 4 million people. As such, there are virtually limitless options for entertainment, dining, drinking, and having fun. There is also a decidedly spiritual side to this city, and to the country as a whole. Beomeosa Temple, the most famous temple in Busan, dates back over 1,300 years and is a central attraction in the city for good reason. The natural beauty of the Geumjeongsan foothills in which the temple resides provides the perfect setting for a serene and tranquil visit. If you are interested, you can do more than visit. It is possible to arrange a stay at Beomeosa Temple, receive instruction, and even learn about the ancient martial art of pulmudo.
The Beomeosa in Beomeosa Temple literally translates as “fish from heaven,” or together, “Temple of the Nirvana Fish.” This comes from a legend that states that a fish from heaven rode on a five-colored cloud and landed in a well on the premises of the temple before it was built, giving the well a golden hue and marking it as a holy spot on which the temple should be constructed. The legend carries on to this very day stating that at the top Geumjeongsan (the mountain where the temple is located), there is a well that can never dry up, with healing properties, and of course, golden hues in the water.
It is one of the head temples in a Korean order of Buddhism known as the Jogye Order. This is simply a reference to traditional brand of Korean Buddhism that took root in South Korea during the reign of the Silla Empire around 800 B.C. This most treasured temple in Busan was constructed by a legendary figure in South Korean culture, a monk by the name of Uisang. Amazingly the first construction of the temple stood the test of time for almost a full millennium until the Japanese invaded in the late 1500s, burning the temple in Busan to the ground. It was built once again in 1602, but burnt down again as the result of an accidental fire. The main temple was rebuilt in 1613. At its biggest, the Beomeosa Temple unbelievably had over 350 rooms.
The pagodas, gates, temple halls, and shrines constitute national treasures in South Korea. They are qualified as such in the country just as places are designated as historic places on the National Register in the United States. If you want to stay at Beomeosa Temple, you can expect a time of peace and serenity. You can receive instruction from the monks, and meditate with them. The rigors of everyday life dissipate into the calming winds that course through the mountains and into this spiritual center in the foothills of Busan. A stay at Beomeosa Temple is a retreat not only for the body, but also for the mind.